In mid-February, I was commissioned by the CEO and Founder of BEVFORCE to recreate the storied TriBeCa Grand Hotel on a 48″X60″ canvas. Rapidly growing, the men and women of BEVFORCE required a larger, loftier space and with that came bare walls. After some discussion, we decided on a large canvas versus a mural… so the work could travel as they continue to grow.
This was the exterior day shot I used as a point of reference.
And for a sense of balance and visual information… the night shot. To create the desired final image, I referenced both the day man and the night man to faithfully capture my vision. Now, without further adieu, a stroke-by-stroke recap of this 20 square foot canvas.
A blank slate.
Beginning with a yellow outline to define the composition.
Collaging the headlines, with an angular focus on the central vanishing point (not shown.)
Further collage detailing – striving for a balanced surface.
Re-blocking out the hotel with a nice, straight-from-the-tube cadmium red medium.
Further collage at the bottom, exploring the angularity of the composition.
A dense mass of collage.
Splashing around some blues, one of the two most important colors on this canvas.
This shot represented the end of day one.
With the entire surface covered, the process begins to slow down as the details begin to materialize – starting with the definition of the hotel itself.
Venturing to the window to capture a snowy day in TriBeCa.
I love these beautiful, classic buildings with their enormous windows, fire escapes and most importantly – wealthy patrons.
Working around a set of greens, a color centrally localized in the composition.
Ari Lankin snapped me painting “It’s True”, while I was saying, without realizing what I was painting, “it’s true.”
Focusing hard, letting the mustache do most of the work.
The sky is beginning to take shape… in this type of image, the picture can be quite busy; whenever you can harmonize a large swatch, it’s helpful.
In an attempt to firm-up the picture, I flipped the canvas upside-down to paint a portion of the street.
Working the swatches of color around the canvas, blues in every corner.
Adding the yellow highlights in the windows, looking to create a warm and inviting hotel scene full of every day, ordinary people.
Now getting into the shadows on the unlit sides of the TriBeCa Grand, and beginning to block out the different sections in the foreground.
Really working into the background, nailing down the buildings along the horizon.
And, after flipping the painting upside down and working on the oranges on the ground, a balance is beginning to form.
Playing with the blue/orange balance, bringing the sky to the foreground and the foreground to the building.
Bringing the facade of the TriBeCa Grand to the front of the picture plane, working the entrance way and conspicuously adding a Buddha to the hotel gang of: Steve Buscemi, Joe Pantoliano, Michael Imperioli, Robert Downey Jr. , Shakira, Rihanna, Ringo Starr, Dennis Hopper, Rosario Dawson, Brad Pitt, Tiger Woods, Jennifer Aniston, Conan O’Brien and Paris Hilton.
Fixing the clock, touching up small points throughout, nearly there.
My friend on Twitter inquired “is there any thought behind the words you collage?” The short answer is yes, the long answer is no. When I broke my leg, I decided to get re-acquainted with the art of collage – primarily because I couldn’t get off of my couch and Oxycodone. When I began this new series, I started out with the matchsticks and xray images – but quickly moved on to the NY Post, which I chose for multiple reasons:
1. Newspapers are dying
2. I love the Post
3. The startling narrative of our times
One headline can be powerful, but 400 on the same plane can be poetry of the worst kind. Occasionally, I will collage the headlines with narrative intent, other times, I let the headline sizes and geometrical pattern dictate the placement. While painting, I often color headlines in the same tone to create subtle, sub narratives when read in sequential order. Tell Woody Allen to send over a strict Freudian, I am sure there are numerous subtexts written by my subconscious.
A detail of a BEVFORE worker, getting checked out by Jennifer.
Detail: Conan doesn’t need the people of earth to inspire a brisk jog in the opposite direction of Paris on all fours.
Lights and dark, all beginning with newspaper headlines. Everybody is looking for someone or something at the TriBeCa Grand.
During the creation of this piece, I was privy to a delicious slice of cake from Billy’s in honor of Sean’s one year BEVFORCE anniversary. Good friend and fellow artist Ari Lankin stopped by. Artist, actor and activist Justin Christopher from ACE took me out for a bite. Erin, Krysti and Bob paid a visit for a sip of absinthe. I got to know an awesome group of people in Sean, Jill, Jennifer, Robyn, Gizmo… and spent some quality time with Josh and Alyssa. For more information about commissions or acquisitions, click here or simply email me to begin the dialogue.
I read this all the way to the bottom, and see me in person, say to me, “the night man cometh” – I will be impressed.